Phoebe Robinson Wants 'Everything's Trash' Fans To Love the Messy B**ch Within (Exclusive)

Phoebe Robinson in Everything's Trash
Freeform/Giovanni Rufino

The multi-hyphenate talked to ET about using her real life to create her new Freeform sitcom, 'Everything’s Trash.'

Phoebe Robinson just wants everyone to have a good time. 

The actress, executive producer and writer of Freeform's new comedy series, Everything's Trash, has been working on the project for several years with one underlying goal: making people laugh again. Robinson told ET that she's been trying to kick off some version of the sitcom since 2015, and there were many moments where she thought she was close to success. 

"For this to finally come to fruition, after three years of development, is really exciting and I hope that people love this show and that it resonates with them," she shared of the series' long journey, which included reshooting the pilot episode after initially filming in California rather than New York City. 

In a world that feels like it's constantly on the precipice of catastrophe, the series has a basic gist that is incredibly relatable for most audiences. As Robinson explained, her alter ego Phoebe Hill is in that stage of early thirties where most people believe "you have life figured out." But in reality, it's anything but.

"I really want it to be like, 'Adulthood is ever-changing and you go through many evolutions of yourself," she explained of Everything's Trash's grand theme. "I know that Black women are held with such a high expectation of like, you have to represent and you have to live a certain way. Your hair has to be a certain thing. Your body has to be a certain thing. And [this] was really kind of being like, 'well, no.'" 

The series' star character, Phoebe, will bring to mind some of TV's beloved messy leads that came before her, especially Insecure's Issa Dee, who almost perfected the art of the messy heroine. Although they're different shows, their defining element is the main character's undeniable humanity. That is the ultimate draw for Robinson. 

"I think it'll be really cool to just show someone human, who's flawed, who's funny. [Someone] who dates and who doesn't have everything together but they still love themselves," she said. "Because I think society is like, 'oh, you can only love yourself if you're perfect.' And it's like, no, love yourself throughout the whole messy process. And so I really hope that people have that and they laugh a lot because I love comedies. I love those shows where people can laugh and feel vulnerable."

Robinson attributes much of the show's success to the cast, which includes her longtime friend, Jordan Carlos, who plays fictional Phoebe's older brother.  

"The key relationship in the series is the one between Phoebe and Jayden," the actress stated. "I think it's a love letter in a lot of ways to my brother and just sort of like the relationship we have. We always tease each other, but we're always there for each other and love each other deeply." 

Along with Carlos' Jayden, the key characters in Phoebe's life are her work wife and her ride-or-die-for-always, Malika Jones (played by Toccara Cash), her roommate, Michael Baker (played by Moses Storm), and Jayden’s tightly wound but fun wife, Jessie Ajayi-Hill (played by Nneka Okafor). They all play a part in telling the show's story of the trials and tribulations of adulthood. 


"I really wanted to show levels of sisterhood all the adult aspects that have you like, 'oh, snap. Okay. I gotta do this now. Like, I can't play games anymore,'" Robinson shared. 

And, of course, there's the ultra-vital character that's present in every scene -- Brooklyn. 

Robinson, who has lived in Brooklyn for "20 years," called the show a "shoutout" to the borough that's more realistic than other shows may present. 

"I really wanted to show that aspect of Brooklyn because I feel like a lot of times it's just kind of the, 'oh, we all have a loft apartment in Soho' and I'm like, who's that? That was never my journey," she explained. And Robinson's journey is the bulk of inspiration behind the show, which is a meta TV adaptation of her book of essays with a similar name, Everything's Trash, But It's Okay

Robinson shared that she wasn't put off by the idea of using her life as fodder for the series because "TV is such a collaborative process" that it's not solely about her life. 

"I was really just sort of like, 'Yeah, let's like mix it up and like get some experiences out there,'" she admitted. "It was cool to have personal moments intermix with the chaotic moments that the writers dreamed up. It was cool to have that balance."

What's also cool is Robinson's position as hat-juggler both behind and in front of the camera puts her among the ranks of Black women who have taken the reigns for their various projects, such as Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Halle Berry, Issa Rae, and the recently Emmy-nominated, Quinta Brunson

"It feels cool! It's a great list of people, so I'm glad to be a part of it," Robinson said when asked what it's like to be counted on such a list. "I am a creative through and through, so I like to be a part of the entire process. I feel like you learn so much and everything informs the other thing. And so I really learned that I love being an executive producer. I love being on set, just watching other people act and giving notes and seeing how things come together."

She added, "I think it's a great time for, you know, creators, in general, to sort of put their own visions out there instead of waiting for a network to recognize them. It's just like, you know, I came up doing stand-up and podcasting, Quinta came up doing stuff on for Buzzfeed and just being hilarious and doing stand-up as well. And you have people like Nicole Byer and Issa Rae, and it's just so exciting."

It hasn't been an easy journey, for sure. Robinson shared that the hardest part of her process has been getting her foot through the door when others don't want to listen. "When you decide to bet on yourself, it takes longer but it also accelerates things at the same time," she explained. 

She continued: "It takes longer for people to believe in you because they're like, 'okay, you're unproven. What can you do?' But because you're betting on yourself, you're really honing your skills and developing your voice and figuring out what you want to do -- that's what makes it like really specific." 

That specificity is what brings people to your table, she said. "If you look at a show like South Side, it's so funny because it's so specific and they weren't trying to fit the mold of something else," she noted. "They were just like, 'we're gonna tell this story that we know is funny and someone else will catch onto it.' So I think it's good when you can be a proof of concept for yourself."

The biggest key of advice the actress would share for up-and-coming Black creatives? Establish yourself as a multi-hyphenate. 

"If you can be like a writer/director, a writer/performer and just really learn how to create for yourself, then you will always eat," she said, adding that one-note lanes in Hollywood get easily forgotten. "As an actress, they will be through with you by the time you turn 35. Hollywood is not interested in women over the age of 25. They don't want us to have anything to say, to have anything of substance to give. So, if it makes the most sense to you [be a multi-hyphenate]. It will teach you to not wait for someone to say 'yes.' You tell yourself, yes."

Everything's Trash premieres its first two episodes on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.